Once you have a well-built, well-designed, and well-written website, it’s time to market it. You want potential customers to be able to find you as easily as possible, and search engine marketing can help.
There are two main categories of search engine marketing: pay-per-click (PPC) and search engine optimization (SEO). In this post, we’ll cover the basics of each marketing strategy, then give you a few tips to ensure they work together to boost your presence on the web.
PPC ads use an advertising model built around clicks. Instead of paying for an advertisement up front, you pay a fee to the search engine or other publisher when someone clicks on your ad. PPC ads are found at the top of a search results page as product listing ads, and on various websites.
Google Adwords is the most popular PPC network, but Bing and Yahoo have them as well. Most search engines use a bidding process for various keywords or keyword phrases while most content sites charge a set fee for each click.
PPC ads can be a great addition to your search engine marketing strategy. You’ll see traffic much quicker than you will with an SEO campaign. Additionally, many publishers allow you to target your ads to specific locations, which is helpful if you operate in a specific area. Many of these ads also offer remarketing ads—giving users who have visited your site another opportunity to consider your product or service.
There are drawbacks, however. As your clicks increase, your costs will increase as well. You’ll also have to watch your numbers carefully–it’s possible to spend more money on PPC ads than you make in return, especially if you overbid for a competitive keyword phrase.
SEO is the process of getting your site to appear higher on various search results pages so more people will see your site. Traffic that comes from searches (as opposed to paid ads) is often called organic, free, or natural.
SEO has quite a few benefits that have driven its impressive rise in popularity. Organic traffic usually has a higher conversion rate than paid traffic . Additionally, many SEO strategies also improve users’ experience, increasing your ROI. And although SEO requires maintenance, you won’t need to pay for individual clicks, meaning it can scale more economically.
There are a few drawbacks of SEO, however. It takes time to build up enough quality content to begin to rank in search engine results. And while you aren’t paying for clicks, you still have to invest in research, data analysis, and content.
PPC and SEO working together
Using both PPC and SEO is a great way to get your site in front of as many people as possible, but there are a few things you’ll want to do to ensure your campaigns work together.
Coordinate your keywords
If you are just launching your website, it’s important to research the best keywords for your SEO strategy. Using the same keywords in your PPC ads can help you build your presence on the web, giving you a boost of traffic while you increase your ranking.
If your website has been up and running for a while, you can research which keywords you already rank highly for. If you already have a high search engine ranking with a particular word or phrase, choose other words or phrases for your PPC campaign. This allows you to maximize your investment by getting your site in front of customers that might not otherwise see you.
Create custom landing pages
Landing pages allow you to customize your content for different visitors based on what they searched for or what ad they clicked on. For example, visitors to a zoo’s website would “land” on different pages based on whether they searched for “zoo donations” or “visiting the zoo.”
This principle works for both SEO and PPC strategies. Using the keywords to build landing pages and website content that gives visitors the information they are looking for will result in better search engine rankings, happier customers, and more conversions.
Track your data
Tracking the effectiveness of various campaigns is vital to making smart marketing decisions going forward. Google Analytics is a great place to start, and there are several great options if you need something more robust. And if you’re using Adwords, make sure you connect your Adwords and Google Analytics accounts.
At a minimum, you should be setting goals for the most important things you want a visitor to do on your site, like make a purchase, sign up for a newsletter, or submit a contact form. Track whatever keeps you in business.
There are many other metrics you can (and should!) track, but starting with a few simple goals can help you focus your marketing investment on the campaigns that make you the most money.
UTMs are the best way to track the effectiveness of individual campaigns, emails, ads, posts, tweets, and more. Using UTMs in conjunction with Google Analytics can give you an accurate ROI on specific campaigns.
To start using UTMs, all you have to do is go to the UTM generator of your choice. Once there, you’ll fill in a few pieces of information about your campaigns (the UTM generator we linked to has explanations and examples of each of the fields). Once the generator has created your link, copy and paste into your campaign. When someone clicks on that link, it will show up under the campaigns section in Google Analytics, giving you an accurate picture of the effectiveness of your campaign or ad.
Using the right combination of all these tools together, you can effectively boost your traffic and increase conversions. Why not try something new today?
Note from Evermore: Sandy’s company, CE Squared is one of the Search Engine Marketing experts! Specializing in Online Marketing, SEO, SEM, WordPress Maintenance and Full Scale WordPress Websites. If you have any questions about any of the suggestions in this post, feel free to contact them.